Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Tahoe!

This is big for me ... we went on a road trip last weekend! It's a big deal because I was on pins and needles when I was a first-time mama. There was no way I would've been down to do this. While I'm still a creature of habit and love the safety of my home, I planned a trip to Lake Tahoe to attend a friend's wedding and by golly, we did it. Arghhhhh!!!

I learned a few tidbits on this trip. One, if we're able, we will stay in nicer accommodations. I picked a decent albeit dated lodge that was rated 4 1/2 stars on Yelp! While it was tidy enough, somewhere along the way in our lives, The Man and I had become germaphobes. Nope, I know exactly when it happened - when we had kids. When we repeatedly yelled, "Don't drop your blanket on the floor!" (replacing blanket with just about any other belonging) or "Don't touch that, we don't know when it's really been deep cleaned!", it's just not suitable. Places that were fine and dandy in our youth are not up to snuff now that we have kids. And let me tell you, we were not at all snobs back in our day. I remember staying in some hotels with friends in which I felt more comfortable wearing slippers than going barefoot. And I just thought, eh, that's OK. Not anymore, especially now that we'll have a crawler on our hands soon! 

The second thing I learned is that I should just pay the extra bucks to stay on the beach. I saved probably $20/night by staying in a room across the street from the lake. And, again, while that would have been well and good for us in our 20s, it wasn't nearly as convenient as one would think. I know that if we had stayed lakeside, The Bun would've been able to play at the beach much more than the few minutes she spent playing there between the ceremony and reception:/ Ah well, live and learn! Oh yes, the last thing I discovered was that I should not have spend the extra money to have a room with a kitchenette. I thought we would cook at least a couple of meals in the 2 1/2 days we stayed there but we did not. Maybe if we had stayed a week but we didn't use the kitchen at all. We did use the fridge but that can be found in most hotel rooms.

Funny how these tidbits all had to do with lodging! By no means are we big spenders. But with all the worrying we did, we now know it's worth it to "invest" in nicer accommodations. We will literally sleep better at night.

As for the wedding, it was gorgeous. I was impressed by how much thought my friend and her husband put into it all. And how much their families helped. It was one of the nicest weddings I've attended. And Tahoe! Oh my goodness. The Man and I had been to Tahoe plenty of times but we hadn't been since 2003 or 2004. And the only times we went were during the winter for the snow. Oh my word, Tahoe is absolutely breathtaking in the summer! And it appears everyone there is outdoorsy! We saw numerous cyclists, lots of stand up paddlers, kayakers, windsurfers ... just about every summer activity. And every age group! I saw numerous active older adults and retirees that had to be much more fit than I.

And I had no idea the sand was so powdery. With flecks of gold! I don't know if it's imported but it's gorgeous. So much of the vibe reminded me of North Shore on Oahu. Just about everyone was sun-kissed wearing some sort of swim gear. And the majority of people just looked healthy. 

Another funny thing to note: The Man and I love beaches. But we don't do any water sports. He always mentioned how we should take up something like surfing or kayaking and I have to remind him how I basically only know how to dog paddle and float. And that's in calm waters. There's no way in hell I could do anything in the ocean. Well, after him yet again making a comment when we saw so many people stand up paddle boarding, I decided to do something about it. On our way home, I Yelped swim places back home and I signed up for swim lessons! I'm not striving to be a competitive swimmer but I want to feel confident and comfortable being in choppy waters. I'm excited I'm finally doing something about it! 

It was a great weekend. Thankful to The Man for driving and for being in every sense of the word my partner when it comes to taking care of our children. And I'm thankful for our minivan. Yes, that's right! Those suckers are comfortable and we packed everything we could possibly need. Can't do that traveling by plane!

It was so wonderful to be able to bring the kids to Lake Tahoe for the first time and I would love to return next summer. And stay at the resort where my friend married!




I couldn't believe how gorgeous the sand was. Although it wasn't white, the softness rivaled our most favorite beaches on Hawaii.






Excited to let loose after the ceremony and before the reception!
(Sadly, the only time she played on the beach the entire weekend.)




3/4 of the fam because 1/4 was sleeping in his carseat at our feet;)




Wished we could've stayed in Tahoe longer.
Here's The Bun enjoying some sun at a cafe / board rental place.




The Man took these gems while we were taking a shower. He cracks me up. And yes, that is my baby foaming at the mouth.




The Man sympathy-crying. I'm glad he didn't sympathy-drool too.




Had to add these even though they were taken at home. Piko never got this close to The Bun when she was a baby. Maybe they've forged a special bond!




He is just lovely.




He flashes smiles in his sleep. But they are fast to disappear! A miracle I caught one of them.






Thursday, August 28, 2014

Preschool to TK

Dear Bun,

It's been all about your baby brother lately, hasn't it? You've been such a good sport. I don't sense jealously, rather, just you trying to figure out how you fit.
Yesterday was your first day at your after school care. It's a big deal since you will spend about 6 hours there every weekday once I go back to work. Anyway, one of the teachers, the one who picks you up from TK, stopped us when he saw us park and walk to the entrance.
He told us that you are one of the sweetest, most polite TKers he has met. He said you have wonderful manners and use "please" and "thank you" more than any other TKer he's come across. He ended it by telling us, "Whatever you're doing, you're doing right."
We felt so proud as we walked away. But the credit doesn't just go to us. The village who helps raise you deserves credit too. It started with (and is still!) me and your Daddy, includes your Papa & Nana, included Monique (your first day care provider), then your preschool teachers and now includes your TK & after school teachers.
Most of all, YOU deserve credit. You've always had this sweet, quiet and reserved way about you. You don't command a room, rather, you work it;) Maybe that's not even accurate. Because you genuinely care about people. You want everyone to "be your best friend" and even though people perceive you as shy, I've seen you walk up to kids and ask them to play with you.
You're confused and rightfully hurt when you encounter a child who doesn't want to be your best friend or play with you. You know what? They're loss. Because they will not find a truer friend than you. And when you do make those friends, like your friend Dylan, and I see how kind and loyal you are to one another, it fills my heart.
Like your daddy told you yesterday when you shared how one girl didn't want to be your best friend, you definitely don't have to be friends with everyone. In fact, you won't be friends with everyone. But the friends you will make are going to be great. You have so much love and light in you. Your family and friends are blessed to have you in our lives.
I know it's not easy some days. You want attention and we're giving a lot to your baby brother. Not to mention we give him a lot of our patience too! But know that we LOVE you and are such a treasure.
Love you, baby.




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Friday, August 22, 2014

My schedule is dictated by a 1 month old

What?! The Bean is already 1 month? My schedule couldn't be more simple yet time is just flying by.
I wish I blogged more. But it's hard to fit in. I remembered how much down time there was while on maternity leave. I stupidly (mis-)remembered it as free time. I had plans of small fixer upper home tasks, organization and cleaning I wanted to do.
Barely any of it has happened because my time is not my own. But you know what? I'm BLESSED. Even though it's just now that I'm only spotting (oh, the bleeding. And soreness!) And my chest just finally starting to get used to being "workin' boobs" (People hardly talk about how painful it is in the beginning to breast feed, which is a shame because a woman needs to prepare herself!) All of this is worth it. Because I feel absolutely blessed we were able to have one more child.





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Friday, August 08, 2014

39 Weeks, part 2

Goodness, it's so hard to finish this birth story with two children.
I labored for a total of 22 hours. As I mentioned, 5 hours were without an epidural. I'm not going to lie, it hurt like a mo'fo'. Then I got blissed out for a while. Ahhh.
Some time during the day, I experienced back labor pains for the first time in my life.
HOLY S***. That was a whole new pain I had never experienced. It got to be so bad that one of my nurses contacted the anesthesiologist. He came in and said that he could provide a stronger dosage that would help. Unfortunately, it lasted for only a little while and then the back pain would r-a-g-e again.
I had great nurses who, with the help of The Man, would turn me on my side. I felt a bit like a rotisserie chicken. But whatever it took for me to get maximum benefit from my epidural, right? Hellz yah. The Man and my mom continued to be my side, only leaving to eat or to use the restroom. Thankfully, I wasn't hungry. Probably due to the drugs although the IV drip probably also helped. At least with the thirst.
Around 4:00 PM, in the 21st hour, a nurse said I was finally ready to push. I have to say, I was so relieved because I still worried things were going to go down like last time - after all the laboring, I would only be a few centimeters dilated and it would be all for naught. Again. But nope, my nurse said I was ready to push!
But I was confused. Where was everyone else? I know a cesarean section is major surgery and that's why I had a room full of doctors and nurses. But seriously, just one nurse? I didn't say anything because I was merely curious, not alarmed. And, of course, I was also just plain exhausted. Later, The Man would tell me he thought the same thing. "Uh, my wife is going to start pushing. Where IS everybody else?"
But we were tired. So we did what we were told to do. He held one leg while the nurse held the other. My mom patted my hair and shoulder while I rested between pushes. And, by golly, I pushed with all my might. Well, as much might as I could provide with no feeling from my diaphragm down. It was a lot like one saw on the movies - woman bearing down and pushing with all her might.
Oh, one of the challenges of having an epidural for 17 hours? No food or drink except for water. On the plus side? When one is pushing, the less likelihood of pooping while pushing.
I pushed for nearly an hour. Sometime during that hour, another nurse joined us. I have to say, I knew nurses were bad asses but I didn't know that they had to also manage and facilitate the vaginal births. Hats off to them, they've really got huge jobs that encompass just about everything. I think when The Bean's head was crowning, one of the nurses got the midwife.
Maybe too much time has passed - it's now been 17 days - but I can't remember all the details. For instance, I wish I remembered the two nurses names but I don't. The midwife's name, however, is on The Bean's hospital birth certificate so I know I can at least find that out. She had visited me from time to time to check on me but I hadn't seen her much during my visit. Anyhow, I remember the midwife came in at the very end of my labor and took over. She told me when to push and minutes later, I heard the Bean cry.



I cried when I heard his cry.
Even though I had an epidural, I still more lucid than when I gave birth to The Bun. This is the part that is bitter sweet. The moment when I heard him cry, I was so moved. I looked at The Man and I felt like we, with God, had done something miraculous. I wish I had felt that moment with The Bun. I remember feeling detached from the experience, glad that The Man felt moved by her birth but I had very little emotion. It felt unreal and I was so doped up and out of it. The only thing that makes me feel less guilty is knowing that The Bun doesn't have memories of that experience.
After I heard The Bean's cry, the midwife and nurses vigorously rubbed him down and placed him on my chest. He was so little! It was hard to believe he was 7 lbs. 3 oz. and 20 inches long. He looked itty bitty like The Bun! But he wasn't. While he was by no means huge, my lady parts told me otherwise as my midwife took several minutes to stitch me up. How many stitches? She didn't say and I was too chicken to ask.
 Thankfully, recovery was a lot different from my first pregnancy. I was able to leave the hospital one day after giving birth. They have a policy in which the mother and baby have to stay at least 24 hours after the birth. I recalled not getting a ton of rest after my first delivery but, because we had made it known we were interested in leaving the next day, we got extremely little rest. We have hospital staff coming into the room just about every hour, sometimes more during regular business hours. It was ridiculous. But in addition to the 24 hour policy, we also had to stay because it took a while for me to get feeling back in my legs. I couldn't go to the bathroom unassisted for quite a while. When I thought everything was fine and kind of dismissed the nurse's request (more like demand) that I contact them if I need to use the restroom, I almost fell from the toilet onto the floor. My right leg, the one taking the longest to regain feeling, just gave out on me. So yes, after that experience, I pressed the call button every single time I needed to use the loo.
I know I'm not giving all the details like I did with The Bun's. For instance, I didn't write about how I didn't recover feeling back in my legs until about 12 hours after I gave birth. And how when they moved me from Labor & Delivery to Post Partum, I swear I had the smallest nurses who thought they could transfer me by a wheelchair. But when they realized I couldn't move myself AT ALL and there was no way they could lift with their 95 lbs bodies, they had to move me by bed. And even that was a freakin' s-show because they eventually had to transfer me onto another bed. And all I could do was lie there and try to pull myself  up with my arms which was a joke because I have very little upper body strength.
But at least it's done. For the most part. I wanted to write down The Bean's birth before I plum forget everything. Currently, I'm waking up every 2-3 hours every night to feed and we have that same schedule during the day. I'm thankful God blessed me with a good pregnancy, labor and healthy baby so I try to keep that top of mind when I'm bone weary:)


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Friday, August 01, 2014

39 weeks.

This pregnancy has, in just about every way, been different than my first. There were little and significant differences - my skin changed for the better instead of for the worse, my hair was drier this time around rather than voluminous, I didn't get morning sickness, I didn't have gestation diabetes, and while I had the same weight gain, I showed a lot more this time around.
It's so funny. I couldn't remember how far along I was with The Bun before I gave birth. Thanks to this little blog, I see that I was in my 38th week. This time around, I was wondering if I would be going past 40! The Bean appeared to be very comfortable, resting high in my uterus and I wasn't having any contractions, Braxton-Hicks or real.
Funny how things just fall into place or happen for a reason. The Man had been working crazy hours, doing double shifts and it looked like it wouldn't stop until I gave birth. On Monday, July 21st, he had worked a full day and planned to go back around 10 PM, the usual as of late. Instead of resting, though, he accompanied me to pick up The Bun at preschool. Ordinarily he wouldn't do that but I was doing my friend a favor and meeting one of her customers at a local coffee shop to give him some product samples on her behalf. (She lives in Hawaii so, clearly, couldn't do it herself.) I felt safe enough since we were meeting in a public place but The Man didn't like the idea that his whole family - wife, daughter and son-in-utero - were going to meet a stranger so he came along.
We picked up The Bun from school and then went to one of our favorite local coffee shops to wait for the guy. We ended up eating dinner because the guy was stuck in traffic. Once he got there, I gave him the sample and we quickly headed home. The Bun's bedtime is supposed to be at 7:30 PM but it takes us a while to get her ready for bed.
We parked our van in our reserved spot and started to walk to our home. Just steps away from the van, I felt a warm sensation and wondered briefly if I just lost control of my bladder. I looked down and didn't see anything running down from my shorts or running down my legs but the sensation continued. I felt my bottom and it was wet. Ohh, that's right.
"Hon," I said and The Man turned. "Hon, I think my water broke."
"Are you serious?" He later told me he asked that because he didn't see anything running down my legs so I must have been joking.
"Yup. I'm pretty sure my water just broke."
We both paused and looked at each other. I had not experienced my bag of waters naturally breaking so this was new to both of us. I can't remember word for word what he said but essentially it was something like, "OK, let's go."
Honestly, I didn't read any books this time around. I did have two pregnancy apps, one free and one purchased, that sent me reminders and notifications of what to expect. But that had been the extent of my preparation and research. Luckily, I did remember that if I wasn't experiencing contractions, it was a good indicator that I had time to do things like take a shower.
While The Bun and I showered, The Man made calls to his work. He had to cancel the work that was scheduled for tonight as well as talk to his boss and the man who would take over while The Man goes out on paternity leave. The Bun figured out that something was going on and I did my best to explain to her that the baby was coming so mama and daddy had to go to the hospital. She didn't quite understand why she couldn't join us (insert super cute sad face) but she could tell that it wasn't the time to negotiate.
We drove to my parents house so we could drop off The Bun with my dad and pick up my mom who wanted to be there for the birth. (My dad emphatically said he would rather take care of his granddaughter. I'm guessing the waiting and the blood made going to the hospital unappealing to him.) By this time, my contractions were significant enough for me to start timing them. They were roughly six minutes apart.
Our new hospital had just opened in June. Oh, the luck! This one had all the great new nurses from the old hospital but all the perks of an updated facility - all private rooms, free wi-fi, yadda yadda. The Man, being the man, wanted to do a dry run last weekend so we were familiar on where to park, what floor to be on and where to check in. Unfortunately, they weren't giving tours yet so we knew what to do ... up until checking in to Labor & Delivery.
It was quiet anti-climatic. I thought that they would be in more of a hurry since my water broke and I was having contractions. Nope. The OB-GYN was performing a cesarean section and the mid-wife was working with a patient in critical condition. The nurse said I was going to have to labor on my own for a little bit since I was still in the beginning stages.
I was first put in an admitting room that wasn't bad at all. It was small but big enough to fit a bed and seats for my mom & The Man. There was a good sized flat screen TV ... but they made you watch 3-4 hospital videos about the new facility and care before you could watch TV. It's not terrible but isn't distracting enough when one is weathering contractions.
After the midwife delivered a baby, she was able to check on me. Specifically, check the fluid from my pad in my panties (I know, TMI but part of the story so and isn't this whole entry TMI?) to make sure it was my water breaking and not something else. Of course it was so I was admitted.
I was then moved to this HUGE room, twice maybe even triple the size of the holding room, complete with a warming station for the baby, special lights in the ceiling I just knew were pretty much spotlights aimed right for my lady parts when it was time, and a good sized bathroom. I later realized that it's also big enough to walk around so one doesn't have to walk and labor in the halls.
Evidently at Kaiser, if you're having a standard birth, you are assigned a midwife. If you're pregnancy is considered high risk, you get a doctor. This time, I had a mid-wife. I'd normally be totally fine with that EXCEPT I suspect that this specific midwife didn't like pain relief medication. Because when I told her I wanted an epidural (remember, I had started to have stronger contractions in the holding room), she told me that she doesn't recommend an epidural until I was at least 5 centimeters dilated because an epidural could delay my labor. At that time, I was only at 2 1/2.
I went on to have about five hours of labor with no epidural. Maybe it's needless to say but I'm going to say it - I was miserable. In the type of person that always goes for the pain relief and not try mind over matter or ride the pain out or any of that other nonsense. Yup, I wrote nonsense.
Eventually, there was a shift change and the new midwife introduced herself. I remember her frowning when she saw I was in pain. She asked me if I wanted an epidural and I told her I was told I had to wait until I was 5 centimeters. She then said that my comfort was a priority so if I wanted an epidural, I should get one. And she went and immediately contacted the anesthesiologist. Unfortunately, I was having strong enough contractions that it was challenging to get the epidural in me. Along with the anesthesiologist, there was a nurse assisting him. She was quite militant and kept sternly telling me they I cannot move when the doctor started because he needed me to be very still. When a contraction would start, she would reprimand me before I did anything that I MUST not move.
Ordinarily, when I'm in a vulnerable state, I tend to default to a meek character. But she was really ticking me off by proactively reprimanding me before I even did anything that I finally snapped, "I'm NOT moving!" She looked butt hurt and said she was only trying to help because it's a delicate procedure. But I didn't care, she had pissed me off.
What a world of difference! Once I got the epidural coursing through my body, it was like night and day. Although I wasn't allowed any food or drink except water, it was heavenly. I could relax, I could even sleep. In fact, when The Man wanted to take a photo of us, I could even calmly reapply my eyeliner beforehand!
Heavenly.




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Monday, July 21, 2014

38 weeks and my bag is packed.

Oh me oh my. Well, I'm only a week behind now:p I'm actually on my 39th week but haven't taken a photo yet.
This is the Bun and my 38th photo from last week:

How cute is she? She loves that bear. That bear has "SF State" monogrammed on it in purple. She calls him, "Berry Blueberry". Or maybe it's "Beary Blueberry". In any case, I think it's quite clever.
I have a bag packed and in my car for the "just in case" scenario. Just in case I'm at the doctor's and she decides I need to be admitted, like last time. Or just in case my water breaks in the middle of the night and I go into labor. Although, I must say, Baby Boy seems extremely content. Like, we're-going-to-go-past-40-weeks content. No false or real contractions in sight.
Here is his going home outfit:
Nothing fancy but it's so soft and I like that it has snaps versus a zipper. I learned from The Bun that snaps are better because I could keep her top covered while I changed her diaper. Very important when you have a skinny baby with no fat to keep her warm! Although, again, doesn't seem like this baby is going to have the same issue:p I pray he is a healthy baby but of slight weight. Someone in my church recently gave birth to a 11+ lbs baby girl. I think that would rip me to shreds.
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Thursday, July 10, 2014

And I was doing so well! 35, 36 and 37 weeks.

Ah, crud. I was really happy with how I got back into the swing of things regarding my blog. And then I fell off the wagon.
What can I say? Other than I got even more tired, busy with wrapping up the j-o-b before maternity leave and kick starting my network marketing business.
I know ... what?! Who decides to start a business in her 9th month? THIS chick. Seriously, though. I decided to be more involved and give it a go even though it's probably the craziest time to do so. I've never done anything like this before but I really love the products and am truly grateful to have them in my life. I genuinely believe they made me be healthier by eating better, all while reaping the added benefits like weight loss. Anyway, I can say a lot more but it would sound like a sales pitch. Let me just say that the health products made such a positive impact on me that I moved forward even if it seemed like a crazy time to explore this new venture!
All these things and LIFE (my lovely family, friends and regular routine) caused me to drop a ball - this blog.
35 weeks.
36 weeks.
37 weeks. Taken today!
The Bun is a GREAT sport. She often doesn't feel like taking photos. Correction: She doesn't feel like taking 10-15 shots until her vain mama finds one that she likes! But she gets into it and we eventually have some great ones, like the most recent one. Her smile is beautiful.
This is my first week of maternity leave. I had my doctor's appointment today (moving forward, weekly, until I give birth). There was a big part of me that was nervous it would be deja-vu. I worried that I would be admitted due to preeclampsia and have to have a c-section again. Fortunately, all was fine with my check-up and I was free to go about the rest of my day. 
Every day I pray that The Bean is healthy physically and mentally. I'm anxious and excited to meet him, knowing that the day will be life-changing ... and painful. I told The Man that if I got a solid week of rest (unlike my first pregnancy in which I was admitted to the hospital on my very first day of maternity leave!), I would be OK if he came a week or two early. The Man, however, does not feel prepared and wants our little guy to arrive on time, no later and definitely no earlier;)